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“Maud is at the same time very close and very far from me”, says Marilou Berry

A bold bet, but won for TF1! While the American series This is Us failed to find its audience on M6, the first season of its French adaptation I promise you achieved very good audiences with an average of 4.04 million viewers on TF1. On the occasion of the launch of season 2 this Monday on TF1, Marilou Berry, who embodies with accuracy and delicacy the touching Maud and, novelty, co-directs this new burst of episodes, returns for 20 Minutes on this dense experience that she would love to continue in season 3.

What were the reactions after the broadcast of the first season?

I had great feedback! People were very touched. I returned to something less in comedy, with which I started my career twenty years ago with Agnès Jaoui and Jean-Pierre Bacri. People may have skipped that part of my game range. I received lots of messages from people who could be my parents, my friends and even my children. Many are following I promise you with their children. I am surprised and touched to have such a transgenerational audience.

How was the reunion with your character, Maud? What do you like about her?

Maud is at the same time very close and very far from me. I have a lot in common with her: I lost my father, I’m fat and I have an adopted little brother who happens to be black like Mathis. The rest is very different. I haven’t experienced the same thing. I am not at all at the same stage as Maud vis-à-vis her body and her place in society. I’m better in my sneakers, fulfilled and sure of what I like or don’t like and what I want. Maud is in the midst of a renaissance. At the dawn of her 40th birthday, she said to herself, finally quite late: “I have to get my fingers out a bit and go face life. “I’m a bit more advanced…

In the United States, Chrissy Metz, the interpreter of Kate in “This is Us”, the equivalent character of Maud in “I promise you”, has become a symbol of body positivity, do you feel like moving the lines ?

I’ve been doing this job for twenty years and I don’t have the impression that the lines have changed much. Body positive is such a marketing gimmick. All the big brands take on so-called “atypical” people, who are actually a majority. It’s a charade, because in the metro, in magazines, on TV, you don’t see these people, except for me and a few happy few. It’s progressing, but not that much. For brands, putting a burnt, one-legged or fat person in an ad on Instagram to proclaim themselves body positive is easy. I do not find myself in this movement. The fight for equality between men and women and the place in society of diversity, whatever it may be, is concrete. Me, I try to defend something which will speak to the people who are concerned, and which will perhaps make it possible to educate a little bit the people who are not.

What is Maud’s state of mind at the start of season 2?

A bit of a ram, she rushes… In the heap sometimes. She goes, but a little head down. It’s pretty clumsy, but she deserves to go. It’s awkward and at the same time, full of love every time. Maud is neither mean nor manipulative. She is in the moment and projecting herself scares her.

This season explores the question of paternal mourning, isn’t it hard to play?

It’s not difficult to play, but it wasn’t an easy time. I really didn’t think I could be disturbed by the interpretation of my characters, but I realized over time that if you play a character for two or three days, it’s fine, but when you spend four months there, it’s different. We necessarily become impregnated with its state, its rhythm. When I spend four months in the skin of Maud who mourns the death of her father, for which she feels guilty, I do not come home in the evening in the same state as when I play, like at this moment, Marianne, a much more spirited examining magistrate, in another energy.

This season also explores the relationship of Maud and her singer mother, was it difficult to build yourself as an actress with an actress mother?

Not at all ! And I even have a hard time imagining this plot around Maud. I discussed it with the authors. Maud seems to me childish in her head and in her social development. She wants to try to become a singer. At 38, that’s not necessarily the kind of thing you do. She has this immaturity that I have less. I have other faults, but not this one. I don’t have the same relationship with my mother. We are neither in the rivalry, nor in the girlfriend side. We really have a very banal and rather balanced mother-daughter relationship.

It all starts with an audition story for Maud, did you draw on your personal experiences?

Yes a bit. I have a particularity, I passed quite a few auditions in my life and those that I passed, I had them almost all. I auditioned for my first two films. Afterwards, there were meetings and proposals. In France, unlike the United States, well-known actors no longer pass. I really regret that! That’s why there’s a kind of inbreeding in the profession and why we always do the same thing. I would love to audition. Besides, I pass the message! As a director, I want to see actors audition to discover them in other registers and to be able to persuade my producer.

Do you interpret certain songs that Maud sings?

It’s not my voice. I wanted Maud to have a progression in her voice and to sing really well. If I had the vocal abilities I want for Maud, I would be a singer! I sing well, I like it. If I had had time to work, why not? The preparation is very short. I didn’t want to penalize my character. So I asked for a double for my voice. We found this great young woman, Juliette Moraine, who participated in The Voice and finished 2nd in the selections for Eurovision in 2021. This allowed me to relax on that and to be serene, especially more than I co-direct.

How was the collaboration with your co-director, Renaud Bertrand?

We could have divided up the episodes, but that forces us to come back to the sets several times. Logistically speaking, it’s not pleasant, nor for the actors. I wanted only one person to move, the director. In France, this is not done much because the director is sacrosanct. In a series, this makes sense, since the episodes are not the expression of a director’s artistic point of view, but the expression of a charter, a grammar that develops over 12 episodes. and over several seasons. Renaud Bertrand is someone I adore, we had already worked together on Place Vendôme Mystery for France Televisions. It was really a real mutual crush.

Are you up for season 3? Still in production?

For the moment, I don’t know, it depends on the audience. But I sure hope so. Realize, I don’t know, it’s going to depend on my schedule. But I would love for it to continue! It is the public who decides.

Source: 20minutes

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